Thunderstrike (real name Eric Masterson) is a superhero appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character has appeared as Thor and later Thunderstrike. The character was introduced as a supporting character in the Mighty Thor title, but continued in several other stories, including the self-titled series Thunderstrike in 1993. Later interpretations of Thunderstrike would appear in both the MC2 alternate universe and Heroic Age storyline, featuring the character's son, Kevin Masterson as the new Thunderstrike.
Eric Masterson was working as an architect when he met Thor Odinson. Masterson was injured by falling girders, and was taken to the hospital by Thor. Now on crutches, Masterson was attacked by the villain Quicksand, but was rescued by Thor. Masterson was then abducted by Mongoose, another supervillain. Masterson accompanied Thor to the Black Galaxy, where he first met Hercules. Masterson, mortally wounded by Mongoose, was given Thor's form and powers after the original was merged with Eric's mind, by Odin, to save Eric's life. Recognizing that his new life as the mighty Thor was too dangerous for a child, Masterson gave up custody of his son Kevin to his ex-wife Marcy, reasoning that Kevin would be safer with her, even if she was relatively ambivalent about her role as a mother. Masterson was then separated from Thor by the Red Celestia. Masterson's son Kevin was captured by the troll Ulik for Loki. Thor freed Kevin and seemingly slew Loki in battle. Heimdall then banished Thor, and transformed Masterson into a new Thor. He then met the Enchantress as Leena Moran, and battled Ulik.
Eric continued in the role of Thor, after having been given Mjolnir by Thor, who then told Eric to carry on as Earth's protector. Eric then returned to Earth and joined the Avengers in Thor's place. Masterson revealed his double identity to Captain America. He then first visited Asgard, where he fought the Warriors Three, Balder, Heimdall, and Sif, while trying to discover the whereabouts of the real Thor. Masterson then helped rescue the sleeping Odin from Annihilus. He teamed with Beta Ray Bill and Dargo Ktor (a future incarnation of Thor) as the "Thor Corps" against Zarrko and Loki. During his time with the Avengers as Thor, Masterson aided them in such battles as Operation Galactic Storm, where he fought and defeated Gladiator of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, and eventually sided with Iron Man on the decision to kill the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree against Captain America's idea of sparing the cosmic supercomputer as he believed that the Avengers shouldn't be judges and executioners. And he was also part of the Infinity Gauntlet crisis, being one of only three heroes at the conclusion of that battle to remember the entire confrontation (the other two being Doctor Strange and the Silver Surfer) as he had briefly witnessed Adam Warlock's soul during the fight.
Eric's role as Thor was relatively brief, as the Enchantress manipulated Eric into attacking Thor for Sif's affection. During a confrontation with Thor, Eric struck Sif. This provoked Thor, leading him to defeat Eric and reclaim Mjolnir while Odin revealed the Enchantress's manipulations. Odin then ordered the creation of a new enchanted mace for Eric, called Thunderstrike. Eric first used the Thunderstrike mace against the villains Bloodaxe and Carjack (also known as Doctor Dumb), but he was promptly defeated. Afterwards, Eric created his own costume to distinguish himself from Thor Odinson, while keeping Thor's reputation intact. Eric renamed himself Thunderstrike, after the mace itself, operating as an adventurer and crimefighter. Eventually Eric defeated Bloodaxe, only to discover that Bloodaxe was actually Jackie Lukus, his current love interest.
After a battle with Seth the Egyptian god of storms and chaos, Eric realized that the only way to defeat him was to succumb to the curse contained with the enchanted Bloodaxe and increase his strength. After his supposed slaying of Seth, Eric was confronted by the Avengers, who attempted to arrest him for murder. Instead, Masterson defeated the Avengers, and Thor confronted him. Eric pleaded with Thor to kill him to prevent the curse of the Bloodaxe from taking him over completely. But Eric was eventually forced to fight the Bloodaxe subconsciously, which manifested in Eric's mind in the form of Skurge. Eric eventually defeated the Skurge duplicate, causing a psychic backlash that killed him and destroyed the two weapons. Claiming that Valhalla was not where he belonged, Eric was sent into the afterlife by Odin. Before he went to the afterlife, Eric asked Thor to protect his son.
Years later, Eric's Thunderstrike mace (revealed to have been repaired by Thor and left in custody of the Avengers) was eventually given by Steve Rogers to Kevin Masterson, who went on to become the new Thunderstrike and succeed his own father in the use of that identity. The new Thunderstrike aided the Avengers in the fight against the extremely powerful monster Mangog.
Powers and abilities
Eric proved himself worthy to wield Mjolnir, and was merged with Thor to save his life. When Odin had Eric replace Thor, Masterson had the full strength and weather control powers as Thor. Later, when Eric wielded the enchanted mace known as Thunderstrike, the mace granted him a number of superhuman attributes, many of which are conventional among the Asgardians:
- Transformation: By tapping the enchanted mace twice, Masterson transformed from his Thunderstrike form to his mortal form, in which his mace transformed into a cane. By tapping the cane twice, Masterson was transformed back into his Thunderstrike form and the cane reverted to the mace.
- Superhuman Strength: When he was Thor, Masterson was above Class 1000 tons strength. In his Thunderstrike form, Masterson possessed superhuman strength superior to that of the average Asgardian male but slightly weaker than Thor Odinson. At his peak, he could lift about 900 tons. In human form, Eric Masterson had the strength of a normal human.
- Superhuman Speed and Agility: As Thunderstrike, Masterson was capable of running and moving at speeds greater than 100 km/h.
- Superhuman Stamina: As Thunderstrike, Masterson's musculature produced considerably less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of a human being. His physical stamina was equal to that of the average Asgardian male and he could exert himself at peak capacity for about 24 hours before feeling tired.
- Superhuman Durability: As Thunderstrike, Masterson's body was far more resistant to physical injury than the body of an ordinary human. He was capable of withstanding great impact forces, temperature and pressure extremes, and powerful energy blasts with only minor injuries.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: As Thunderstrike, like all Asgardians, if injured, Masterson's body could heal itself with great speed and efficiency. However, he would not have been able to regenerate missing limbs or organs without magical assistance.
- Superhuman Longevity: As Thunderstrike, like all Asgardians, Masterson was highly resistant to the effects of aging resulting in him aging at a rate much slower than a human being, although he was not immortal. However, he was immune to all known Earthly diseases and infections.
- Thunderstrike Mace: named from which he derived his alter ego. Forged out of the mystical metal Uru, enabling it with the chief properties of durability and ability to maintain enchantment. Other than being a nearly indestructible throwing weapon, the mace was augmented by Odin, Lord of Asgard with the following enchantments:
- The first enchantment was by stamping the mace Thunderstrike would revert to his mortal human form, dressed in whichever clothes he last wore in that form, while the mace transformed into a wooden cane. The second enchantment was by stamping the cane Eric Masterson turned back into his Asgardian form, bearded and garbed in his Thunderstrike costume, while the cane again became the mace. The third enchantment was by throwing the mace and gripping its strap, Thunderstrike could fly at exceptionally high speeds. The fourth enchantment was that he could use the mace to project powerful concussive beams of mystical energy. Not nearly as powerful as Thor's God Blast though. The fifth enchantment was the mace magically enabled him to survive the adverse conditions of outer space without a suit, including its lack of oxygen. Thunderstrike could also open portals to travel anywhere in the universe, even other dimensions.